Summer Vacation 1999
Abilene, TX    ---   Fort Worth, TX    ---   Grapevine, TX

   This year, we had sort of a working vacation. About half of the time was spent shopping for a new vehicle, and the rest of the time was spent in the Fort Worth, TX area at the Fort Worth Zoo, the Botanical Gardens and Grapevine Mills Mall. A day-by-day itinerary follows:
  1. Sunday 8/1/99
    We arrived in Abilene on our way to Fort Worth to buy a vehicle. We tried to get there on Sunday so we could spend the afternoon shopping for cars without having the salesmen around to tell us what we really should be buying. We stayed overnight in Abilene because we found some vehicles we were interested in.

  2. Monday 8/2/99
    Monday morning we went back to some of the places we were interested in. We were looking mainly at Ford Explorers and Dodge Durangos. We went to Star Dodge and Arrow Ford. We were interested in a '98 green and gold Expedition with 4100 miles on it. We started talking price and trade in, and they had some things to fix on it, so we stayed overnight again to talk with them some more and give them a chance to fix it.

  3. Tuesday 8/3/99
    We went back to Arrow Ford and checked out the Expedition and there were still some things to do on it. We piddled around in Abilene for most of the day until mid-afternoon. We started on the paperwork, and got out with the keys to our new Expedition at about 6:00pm. We drove on to Fort Worth.

  4. Wednesday 8/4/99
    We went to the Fort Worth Zoo and had a really good time. There's a lot to see there. It was very hot, but enjoyable. After the zoo, we went on to Brenda's cousins' house in Azle. We stayed with them Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday night. We ate at the Spaghetti Warehouse and afterwards walked around the Fort Worth Stockyards area.

  5. Thursday 8/5/99
    Today we went to the Fort Worth Botanical Garden. It is a big place. It was also very hot again. It didn't cost anything to get in, however it costs a little bit to go into the Conservatory where they maintain their collection of tropical plants, and it costs to get into the Japanese Gardens, but again it is very minimal. We had fun. Andrea didn't enjoy it as much as the zoo, but when we got to the Japanese Gardens, she had a better time because of all the ponds containing koi. She had a good time feeding them the fish food you can buy from dispensers. We ate at a German restaurant called the Edelweiss. Wonderful food! (I love German).

  6. Friday 8/6/99
    We went to Grapevine today to go to the Grapevine Mills Mall. We made it to 5 or 6 different stores before lunch, which we ate at the Rain Forest Cafe. That was a FUN place. For dinner we ate at a Japanese place whose name I can't remember. It was good food except for this green paste that was VERY hot, and had a kind of weird taste to it. I assume it was some kind of condiment, but not for me!

  7. Saturday 8/7/99
    Started out about 10:00 back to Big Spring. We stopped off in Abilene at Arrow Ford for a CD changer cartridge and a new ashtray to replace a scratched one.We also stopped in Colorado City to see my Grandmother. We made it back to Big Spring about 6:00pm, just in time for our niece's birthday at 6:30. We ate at Grandy's 3 or 4 times while we were gone. 2 or 3 times in Abilene, and once at the Fort Worth Zoo.

  8. WHEW!! That's it!

Abilene, Texas
The following information was lifted from the City of Abilene web site.
We are a mid-sized city with a friendly "know-your-neighbors" flavor of a small town. Located in west central Texas, 183 miles west of Dallas, Abilene is home to 112,000 citizens and Dyess Air Force Base, home of the B-1 bomber and C-130 transport planes. Abilene is at the hub of the Texas Midwest Network and of a diversified economy which includes manufacturing, retail trade, farming and ranching, medical care and petroleum.

Arrow Ford
We decided to buy an Expedition from Arrow Ford in Abilene. The salesman who helped us was named Armando Calderon, and we've never had a person help so much. He was a very nice person. If anyone is thinking about buying a Ford and is looking in the Abilene area, I would definitely recommend talking to him. All salesmen are nice, of course, but even after we'd signed the papers he still helped with changing out some things we found that were a problem. We bought a demo vehicle with 4100 miles on it. There were a few problems with scratches on some of the interior and various other things. Even things that were found after we bought it, he still personally helped with. It is still under warranty, so it might not be a big deal, but it was still nice.

Fort Worth, TX
This information was lifted from the Fort Worth web page:
Fort Worth got a rough-and-rowdy reputation early when it was settled in 1849 as an Army outpost on the fork of the Trinity River--one of eight different posts in Texas assigned to protect settlers from Indian attacks. As this thriving town became the last major stop on the legendary Chisholm Trail, it also became home to settlers and soldiers, cattle drovers and outlaws who lived it up in the legendary "Hell's Half Acre." In the latter half of the 1800s, the arrival of the railroad transformed Fort Worth into a major shipping center for livestock. With the construction of meat packing companies, Fort Worth became the second largest livestock market in the country. With the discovery of vast oil fields in West Texas, Fort Worth grew in importance as the last large commercial center before the prairie. It was in Fort Worth that deals were made and drilling supplies were procured. These freewheeling Western roots have given rise to the Fort Worth of today, a city with a deep sense of Western heritage that has been named All-America City twice in the past three decades.

Fort Worth Zoo
Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My! The zoo was great. From the baby elephant "Bluebonnet" to the apes, birds, fish, insects ... you name it, the Fort Worth Zoo is worth going to if you like animals. This was a special time since it is the 90th anniversary of the zoo. We arrived at about 10:00am and stayed until about 4:00. We didn't have enough time to see anywhere near all of the displays, but we had people to see and places to be, so we left.

Spaghetti Warehouse
This was a very good Italian eatery. I had Shrimp Fettucini Alfredo (I don't remember if that was the right name or not, but that's what it was).

Fort Worth Stockyards
The stockyards were a very interesting place. We walked through and saw the depot for the Tarantula railroad, and went to some of the shops in the area.

Fort Worth Botanical Garden
We went to the Botanical Garden even though we thought the flowers and plants would probably be wilted some and not at their best. It was a little dry, but still very nice. We went through the conservatory, the rose garden, the general gardens, the scent garden, the Japanese garden, the ..... gardens. There are a lot of them. We ate at the Garden Restaurant located in the Botanical Garden. We didn't have nearly enough time to see all of the gardens, but we're planning on going back someday.

Grapevine, Texas
We didn't actually see much of Grapevine, just kind of drove through it to get to the Mall.

Grapevine Mills Mall
This information was taken from the Grapevine Mills web site:
Located just two miles north of the Dallas/ Fort Worth International Airport and equidistant between Dallas and Fort Worth, Grapevine Mills is the first super-regional, value-oriented mega mall in Texas and the Southwest.The 1.5 million-square-foot mall is also one of the largest shopping centers in Texas and offers a variety of retail stores, manufacturers outlets, department stores, off-price retailers and dining and entertainment venues.

Rain Forest Cafe
This was a really neat place to eat. We probably spent 2 hours in there including the time spent eating and shopping. They had live parrots, and saltwater fish in huge aquariums. They also had all kinds of animated life size or near life size figures of animals. These included a crocodile, gorillas, butterflies, elephants, and probably some I didn't see. By the time we left, the loud music and jungle sounds were starting to grate pretty bad, but all in all it was a fun place to eat.

We really enjoyed eating at Grandy's. We don't have one here in Big Spring. The food's good and you get a lot of it for your money. What more could you want.

Comments to: Tony Claxton
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